What is Art Explorer, Loren Naji Gonna Do Now? Offer A Huge Thank You!
First, it is necessary –yet impossible– to show the extent of my gratitude to all the friends, members of the community, and people of the art world for their unrelenting support as I navigate the waters of my unique situation. To recite names would be impossible. Real friends, Facebook friends, Ohio City Inc., artists, galleries, arts administrators, members of the media, writers, universities, acquaintances, family and even people that I don’t know poured out their wishes on my behalf! Even, state representatives, judges, lawyers and police have reached out and still are helping with unending support!
From the bottom of my heart, Thank You All. You are the people that make Cleveland a great city. You are Cleveland!
Also I must show gratitude to the multitudes of people who have reached out from other parts of the country to voice their support. Again, Thank You!
I was (and still am) involved in a rough and complex situation with bureaucracy and the law. As a free spirit, I guess that I am quite the square peg, and I need to whittle my corners down a tad in order to fit in among the diverse interests of the neighborhood.
As of now, Loren Naji Studio Gallery is still closed, due to the lack of an occupancy permit. I am jumping the hurdles in order to reopen. I have finally established a “use” as an art gallery. According to the City building code, the amount of space I occupy required me to have 53 parking spaces. I did not have that many. However, thanks to my lawyers, Jessica Weekly, Brian Kenney, Ohio City Inc., Councilman Joe Cimperman, a slew of open-minded building department officials, a crowd of friends and supporters, Voss Aerospace and perhaps attention from the News media, I was granted a variance that allowed me to fill that requirement by leasing spaces from my neighbor, Voss Industries. Now I am properly zoned as an art gallery. It is amazing that I functioned all this time as an art venue, without actually being one!
Anyway, there is much more to do. There are repairs, changes, signage, safety items, inspections and meetings ahead before I obtain an “Occupancy Permit.” I am working at each step with the usual delays, and our government’s elastic calendar. When will I actually reopen? Soon. But exactly when? Who knows!
I am also working on similar issues to get an occupancy permit for my Satellite Gallery, off Waterloo in Collinwood. Satellite Gallery is, however, in good shape and should open soon. No worries: just hold your pants on!
Meanwhile, I am also working with lawyers, judges and City Hall to lift my criminal charges for operating without an occupancy permit and serving free alcohol without a permit. Yes, I am being charged as a criminal for giving my guests beer and wine during opening night receptions at my gallery!
Of course squeezing lemons yields positive things, too, such as lemonade (or is it margaritas?). I am working with Joe Cimperman and State Representative Bill Patmon to create legislation that will allow all Ohio art galleries to obtain an easy, affordable permit to serve alcohol. Maybe when enacted, it will be dubbed “The Naji Act!”
Because I am not able to open my doors for shows, I have had a bit more time to work on my own art. My gallery won’t be absent from the scene for long, however: I am making plans and concocting schemes for things to come soon. I intend to curate some events that will knock your socks off! I am going to make this process fun, dammit! New doors are opening from all this mayhem and I have some big surprises up my sleeve! Yes, believe it or not, this is fun! I dwell in the Zen of Naji!
To all who have supported me through this challenging time, again and again, I say Thank You So Much!
Loren Naji Studio Gallery
2138 West 25th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
442 East 156 Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44110
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